With one week of spring training in the books, here are the top three things we learned
It’s’ the beginning of a new season. Spring Training began as pitchers and catchers reported late last week and position players started to arrive early on this week.
Of course there are going to be at least a few interesting situations that will go down in this first week or two of Spring Training. It happens every year beginning with almost every player declaring “I’m in the best shape of my life” to there being so many new faces on some of the teams that the players literally need to meet one another for the first time.
That was the case for the Oakland Athletics last year after many offseason trades and it appears to be the case in Seattle this season with the Mariners. New GM Jerry Dipoto turned over more than 40% of the Mariners roster in hopes to improve the team enough that they can compete in what is going to be a very competitive race to win the AL West or at least slide in as one of the two AL Wild Card teams.
Some free agents are still signing agreements and getting their physicals while other players are already incurring injuries such as the San Francisco Giants Matt Cain and the Detroit Tigers’ Anibal Sanchez.
While injuries and guys without jobs are no joke …. Here are a few very fun and somewhat interesting things we’ve already learned in 2016:
Number 1: Managers’ need to know their players’ names.
New manager of the Washington Nationals Dusty Baker has continually, in public, referred to the Bryce Harper -yes the Bryce Harper who was unanimously voted MVP of the National League in 2015 – as “Royce” Harper. Yeah. I’m dead serious. We get that at 66 Baker’s getting up there in age, he probably isn’t hearing so well and he was only chosen as the Nationals’ manager after former San Diego Padres’ manager Bud Black had turned down the job. I’m sure as a the new manager of a team it is hard to learn everyone’s names, but Bryce Harper has been famously waiting to stay healthy and win an MVP Award since he was in high school.
Harper debuted in the Majors at 19 and was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2012. He’s made three All-Star appearances in his four big league seasons and now has his MVP award all at the age of 23. Ok, Dusty, you’ve been in baseball a looooooong time, you should know his name is “Bryce.’ – Just sayin’!!
Number 2: It’s important to keep an eye on where you park your car.
Kyle Schwarber was the first to break a the windshield of a car that was parked outside the Sloan Park in Mesa where the Chicago Cubs have their spring training home. Just a rookie in 2015, Schwarber was called up in mid-June. A rare catcher with a power bat the 22-year-old slugged 16 homers and drove in 43 runs for the Cubs in just 69 regular season games. It doesn’t appear he’s going to be stopping that trend anytime soon.
Peter thought he parked his car safely, until Kyle Schwarber’s HR smashed his windshield. (via geslerp/Instagram) pic.twitter.com/8vkPJ5QH1t
— 120 Sports (@120Sports) February 17, 2016
Schwarber was not the only one to break a window however. Seattle Mariners’ designated hitter Nelson Cruz hit one out of the Peoria Sports Complex on Thursday. If you are going down to Arizona for spring training – just be careful where you park your car.
The Boomstick is already doing some damage. pic.twitter.com/dJRznS2QEE
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) February 25, 2016
Number 3: Yoenis Cespedes REALLY likes his cars.
The Cuban outfielder definitely likes his vehicles. We’d heard of this before – he’d been on TMZ in one of his “three-wheeled motorcycles” – which I personally describe as a “tricycle” and in Oakland I remember him having a fancy car. I’m not a car person and I couldn’t even tell you what it was. He rolled into the New York Mets camp in Port St. Lucie, Florida in a new three-wheeled custom “tricycle.” It was different from the one on TMZ (personally I think it’s absurd. It’s just a bit -well overboard). It did go along well with his flashy clothes and flashy number 52 necklace.
But if that vehicle wasn’t enough he showed up the following day in a $400,000 black fire-breathing Lamborghini. When asked what he’d drive to the park in next Yoenis Cespedes told the New York Posts‘ Mike Puma,
“I don’t have no more cars, that’s it.”
Yet the next day he pulled into the parking lot in a shiny red Alfa Romero.
We also learned a little bit about Cespedes’ superstitions. He refuses to eat square waffles, so much so that he allowed a Mets’ staffer to borrow his Lambo to go out and find him a circular waffle maker.
I’m sure we’ll learn a lot more before the start of the regular season but this first week has given us some interesting new insights. For instance, I read this morning that Yasiel Puig has found a solution to his tardiness problem. He’s been notoriously known to be late to games and practices. The solution? He’s buying a helicopter. I’m not joking … you can read more about it here.